Plans Released for Faster Rail Travel to Syracuse, Upstate New York

Posted on February 20, 2023

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Rail

Plans for faster passenger rail service that serves Syracuse and Upstate New York gained more momentum this week after the Federal Railroad Administration released a long-awaited report.

The environmental impact statement includes details about the preferred alternative called 90-B — the 90 stands for a maximum authorized speed of 90 miles per hour.

Ben Sio, senior vice president of strategy, policy and planning at CenterState CEO, calls it a good plan given the state of the current passenger rail system. He’s been advocating for improved, faster service for years.

“What gets me excited about this is the the realistic, pragmatic solutions they are making to some of the biggest persistent challenges that we've had over the years. It's not necessarily the speed of the train, or the top speed—the top posted speed—it's the ability to have on time service to go faster than they're currently going," Sio said. "And not to get slowed down by freight rail.”

The 90-B plan calls for laying about 300 miles of additional track to accommodate the passenger trains, in addition to station improvements. Sio said in addition to environmental benefits, better rail service presents opportunities for the region’s future economy.

“You're opening up the aperture, the kind of person and the location of a person that could commute into Syracuse to work at Micron on a regular basis," Sio said. "Now we can have people that live in the Rochester suburbs or live in the eastern part of Utica, Rome, regularly travel in on passenger rail, because we have more frequent rail service, more reliable rail service and faster rail service.”

He said that could ease stress on road and housing infrastructure in Onondaga County.

Read more and listen to the interview from WAER, here.

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